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Bluffing According to Your Opponent
You must, of course, consider your opponent when deciding whether to bet a fair hand for value or to bluff. Against a perpetual caller, obviously you should rarely bluff. However, against such a player you should bet any hand that you figure is a reasonable favorite to be the best hand. In contrast, against a tough player capable of tough folds, you can get away with bluffs more often, but you should be more reluctant to bet your fair hands for value. A tough opponent is not likely to pay you off with his worse hands, and when he does call, he's likely to show down a hand that beats you.

Here is a typical situation showing when a bluff is right and when it is not. Let's say in draw online poker games you draw three cards to a pair of jacks, and your opponent draws three to what you suspect is a pair of aces. First, we'll assume your opponent is the type of player who will almost always fold if his hand doesn't improve. In this instance, your play is to bluff if you don't improve since you may make your opponent throw away his pair of aces. However, if you make jacks up, you should check rather than bet for value since you are a big underdog if you bet and get called. If your opponent calls, he is likely to have made aces up.

Now let's assume your opponent is the type who almost never folds. Against this player you cannot bluff with one pair because he will almost certainly call you with his bigger pair.

However, if you make jacks up against him, then you should bet for value since your two pair are almost a 5-to-2 favorite to be the best hand when you get called. The difference is that this opponent will call with one pair of aces as well as with aces up, whereas the first opponent would most likely not have called with only a pair of aces.
 
Asking Him What He Has

 
I recently used a tell. It was a pretty big pot and I'd missed a draw. It was seven-card stud and I had a pair of treys. A player bet and everybody else folded. I asked him, "I haven't seen you bluff all night, can you beat a pair?" He immediately sucked in his breath and went completely rigid. He was able to say "yes" almost without moving his lips. I called. He had no pair.

When a player artificially freezes, making no movement or sound, its a strong indication that he is weak. Be careful with this one though, because some players do this when they are strong. Most players are more afraid to give away weakness than strength, but there are exceptions.

Players who are bluffing tend to be hesitant to do or say anything because of a fear that they'll give away their weakness by their actions or the tone of their voice. They are afraid of a call. Players who aren't bluffing don't have the same fear that you'll fold. They still win the pot if you fold, so that one extra bet isn't as important to them. They don't fear the risk of giving away their hand by talking because it won't cost them the pot; at most, it will cost them a bet.
 
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